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RealTime Economic Issues Watch

In RealTime posts, PIIE senior staff and colleagues discuss the fast-moving economic news, financial developments, and public policy choices confronting the United States and the world.

Recent Posts

A New ECB Outlook: Part II

by | April 22nd, 2014 | 12:46 pm

As argued in Part I of this posting, the European Central Bank (ECB) has tiptoed toward a policy of monetary easing but is unlikely to act quickly. Here I discuss what the ECB might do in the second half of 2014, if the inflationary environment continues to deteriorate. One factor likely to delay ECB action […]

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Can China Achieve Its 7.5 Percent Growth Target?

by | April 22nd, 2014 | 10:21 am

China announced its first quarter GDP growth in April. The economy slowed to 7.4 percent on a year-over-year basis in the first quarter of 2014, down from 7.7 percent on the same basis in the fourth quarter of 2013, slightly higher than the market expectation of 7.3 percent. Comparing the first quarter of 2014 to […]

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A New ECB Outlook? Part I

by | April 21st, 2014 | 01:44 pm

The European Central Bank (ECB) seems to be tiptoeing toward further easing of monetary policy in the euro area. Inflation has dropped to just 0.5 percent in March and the pressure for action is increasing. During the biannual financial meetings in Washington, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) reiterated its earlier recommendation [pdf] that the ECB […]

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Putin Needs Victory

by | April 14th, 2014 | 10:37 am

“All we need is victory regardless of the cost.” So runs the refrain in a popular old Soviet film, “The Belarusian Railway Station,” about World War II veterans. This line probably explains President Vladimir Putin’s policy on Ukraine. The latest developments, including the seizure by Russian operatives of police stations in several towns in eastern […]

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Time for the United States to Risk Its IMF Veto

by | April 11th, 2014 | 09:41 am

Support in the United States for the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is at a new low. The reasons are many and varied, and the IMF is unpopular in many countries, not just among the women and men on the streets, most of whom have never heard of the IMF unless their countries are in crisis, […]

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Are Countries Better Off with Their Own Monetary Regimes?

by | April 7th, 2014 | 09:30 am

The continuing economic and financial challenges facing members of the euro area, combined with more recent pressures on some emerging market and developing countries, raise a familiar question. What is the best monetary regime for countries facing such stresses? The answer is that no monetary regime is best for all countries, at all times, in […]

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What Were They Thinking? The Fed on the Brink of Zero

by | April 4th, 2014 | 10:22 am

How farsighted was the leadership at the Federal Reserve as the world economy was heading toward a steep decline more than five years ago? Outside the Fed’s marble halls, the answers to that question are only now becoming known, and the verdict is perhaps surprisingly positive. In December 2008, a few months after the Lehman […]

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No Change in the ECB Outlook despite Ambiguous Signals to the Contrary

by | March 31st, 2014 | 05:21 pm

Despite another month of disappointing inflation numbers, with euro area inflation dipping to 0.5 percent in the March flash estimate [pdf], the European Central Bank (ECB) will probably not take any further monetary policy easing action this week, for several reasons. First, the ECB remains wedded to its new 3-year economic outlook published last month, […]

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The IMF Debacle: Congress Is Making It Harder, Not Easier, to Help Ukraine

by | March 26th, 2014 | 04:04 pm

Once again, the US Congress has balked at approving the International Monetary Fund (IMF) reform package crafted by the United States in Korea four years ago.

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Europe’s Newest Steps Forward to Deal with Failing Banks

by | March 25th, 2014 | 10:00 am

After 16 hours of marathon negotiations, the European Union struck a deal on March 20 to create a single resolution mechanism (SRM) and single resolution fund (SRF) for failing European banks. In theory, the contours of how to shut down such a bank are now clearer, but we still need the fine print. On substance, […]

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